A little more than a week out from opening night, Hope College’s Theatre production of “The Wolves” is in fitting shape to be an exciting show. The Anchor had the privilege of sitting in on one of their rehearsals in advance of this thought-provoking production and was able to speak with a few members of the cast, as well as the stage manager, to hear their thoughts and hopes about this production before it is performed.
“The Wolves” is the 2016 play written by Sarah DeLappe, which focuses on the experiences of a high school indoor soccer team. Most scenes take place in the pregame warmups and feature the conversations, developing drama and life experiences of the teenage girls, who are all referred to by number, not name. The constant overlapping dialogue of the members reveals personal conversations between certain members as well as larger topics that they all pitch in on with humorous — and often immature — comments. Overall, the atmosphere of the production accurately depicts the struggles and humor of female adolescence and the drama of high school sports while not shying away from serious topics that are often overlooked in those spaces.
Even over a week before the first performance, the cast ran through the scenes with an impressive command over the material. It was easy to be drawn into the situations and conversations that are a part of these character’s worlds. The constant chatter of overlapping dialogue will bring the audience right back to high school through the depiction of the chaos and immaturity, and the actors show these qualities in everything they do on stage. Over the course of the rehearsal, they solved problems and re-worked certain moments over and over to push the scenes to be the best as possible. They even adapted a scene to creatively incorporate having to wear masks on stage, which isn’t something that is written into the initial play.
Everyone who is a part of this production is looking forward to members of the audience seeing all of the hard work they have been putting in for the past month. “I am really looking forward to the atmosphere. It is always so exciting to see a finished work we have done put on the stage and to actually have people in the room,” said senior Lisbeth Franzon, who plays #11.
Freshman Alegria Guzman, who plays number #8, said, “I am excited that this is my first college play and I am [excited] to keep having fun while doing it.”
The rehearsal process has been exciting and full of learning new things for the cast members, including how to play soccer. A highlight for Franzon was “…getting to bring a soccer ball home and learning how to play.”
Guzman’s highlight was, “Definitely meeting with the soccer team, that was great.” She was referring to the opportunity that the cast had to spend time with the women’s soccer team a few weeks before the show.
This production sparks many conversations between the cast members and crew, and they enjoy being in such a supportive environment. “My highlights have definitely been seeing the conversations people have about their characters,” said stage manager Emily Dykhosue (’23). “I find myself able to chime in about the world of the piece and it is always this lively, flexible, impulsive discussion, and it is very cool to be a part of.”
This show also gives the audience much to take away and discuss. In fact, after each show, there will be a “talkback” where there is a discussion of the topics and themes covered by the play. Members of the audience can stay and ask questions. “I really hope [the audience] can reflect on the social commentary that it is,” said cast member Guzman. “The play touches on a lot of those topics like racism, discrimination and sexual assault, so [I hope] that people will learn about them and be more comfortable about having conversations instead of just pushing them away.”
The topics and central characters are unique in this play. Stage Manager Dykhouse had the unique perspective of watching this play many times, and she hopes that the audience will be perceptive to the nuanced themes and representation. “The fact that nearly the entire world of the play is teenage girls is really interesting because they are not often given a lot of cultural capital or a lot of credit,” Dykhouse said, “so I hope this can change the attitudes of some people on how they see teenage girls and the way they interact with people similar and more different to them.”
This play is sure to be a well-executed and unique conversation starter. Any member of the audience will be able to glean something from this show and will be able to take part in many different conversations. Every cast and crew member has been working incredibly hard to make this production the strongest it can be, and is looking forward to performing it to a live, in-person audience. Be sure to mark your calendars for October 8, 9, 13, 14, or 15 at 7:30 pm, and October 10th at 2 pm. All shows are in the Dewitt Theatre. Tickets are free for students.